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Old 12-08-2012, 12:16 PM   #1
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'Get Home' Outboards

Here's a short article from the Waggoner Cruising Guide website, illustrating why a kicker is a good idea on BC's north coast, or any other isolated coastline. (Interestingly, the final bill for this adventure wasn't shared...I bet it was significantly more than a small outboard).

Broken Down on the North Coast | Waggoner Cruising Guide

Do you have an outboard as an emergency 'get home' option? What have you learned, both positive and negative?

Murray
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:39 PM   #2
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I do not but after our engine failure and near engine failure I've done considerable thinking along those lines. What I'd like to see is an OB mount that keeps the OB vertical and allows it to rise or be lowered a substantial amount at the stern. Willy, w a clear stern would be ideal for this mount but I have no idea where to find one.

I read the story and feel the most significant element of it is that this could happen to most ALL the gearheads here. But not Marin and all the other twin engined skippers. I don't have a twin but I CAN arrange for a get home system. If my engine quits again I'll probably be think'in about it then too.

Part of the problem w OBs is that they may not run when ther'e needed. One could run them for 5 minute's every time the boat went out but who would?
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:28 PM   #3
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Our 9.9 kicker has saved us from disaster on a rocky lee shore at least twice - when kelp had blocked the water intakes and caused the main to overheat. Also brought us back 12 miles or so twice after engine or sterndrive problems, once from part way up into Glacier Bay. And once when steering let go right in the crowded Hartley Bay harbor, with other boats only yards away.

We could have been saved by a tow in only two of these situations. After 40,000 nm cruising, I've had enough such adventures to really love my kicker. Oh, and it's great for salmon trolling.

i do make sure my kicker is running well at the beginning and end of every summer cruise, and I use it frequently through the summer. Basic maintenance is simple but important. Every time we really needed it in a hurry our kicker started right away.

First one was a Suzuki 9.9 2-stroke, and our current one is a Yamaha 9.9 hi-thrust 4-sroke. The Suz moved our CD 22 at 6 knots, and handled the ups and down in the giant waves I mentioned in the other thread. The Yam moves our heavy 26-footer only 4 knots, so we can't always make it against the currents up north. But we can get over to the side and get out of the stronger flow, or stay safe until current lessens. Did that in Glacier Bay.

I just replaced my raise/lower type kicker bracket, worn out after 10+ years (and many miles bouncing along the roads), with a newer and much beefier one. It's WM's sturdiest, rated for up to 170 lb. List $400. Vertical travel 15.5" IIRC. It seems to be much the same as Garelick's sturdiest.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:32 PM   #4
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In a past life (decades ago) I used to rock climb, and the thought of trusting everything to just one piece of protection gives me the heebie-jeebies. Being new to diesels, new to boating in general, and wanting to explore the hidden nooks and crannies on BC's north coast makes me think an outboard is a sensible idea.

The people in the above story were incredibly lucky. If it had happened in tighter quarters, in a wind, far away from the Inside Passage, it could have been another fight for survival shipwreck story.

I'm toying with the idea of the Lehr 9.9 propane outboard. It's supposed to come onto the market pretty soon.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:37 PM   #5
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Crowded Hartley Bay? You must boat in exceptionally isolated waters
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:38 PM   #6
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An outboard could be a big help as a get-home engine or not, depending on the situation of one's breakdown.

I've related this in the past----- A long-time friend with a steel-hull deFever (42 or 44 feet, I don't recall which) had a log barfed up from the depths of one of the passes in BC he was traversing just after slack current. The log jammed between one of the prop shafts and the hull in such a way that it kept the rudders from moving. So even though he had a second engine he could not maneuver.

The current, while near slack, was nevertheless slowly carrying the boat toward the cliffs. His attempts to free the log with a pike pole were unsuccessful so he launched their shoreboat which was a 15 or 16 foot Boston Whaler with a 40 or 50 hp engine on it. The boat was kept on stern davits so was easy to get in the water quickly.

Despite the relatively weak current, with full power on the outboard the only thing he could do was arrest the boat's movement toward the cliff. But the current was growing stronger and it wasn't long before even at full power both boats were moving slowly toward the cliff.

Realizing there was nothing he could do to prevent the deFever from being carried into the rocks he told his wife to prepare to abandon the boat and when she was ready he would release the line between the Whaler and the deFever and come get her.

So in these waters, at any rate, with the strong tidal currents we contend with most of the time, whatever outboard one selected to use as a potential get-home motor would need to be capable of moving the boat in the face of an adverse current. Not normally as strong as what my friend was dealing with, but three to six knots is not uncommon even farther south here in the San Juans and Gulf Islands and it can go much faster than that in the narrow bits.

Our Livingston dinghy has a 4hp outboard. If we lashed the dinghy to the side of the GB that motor at full power would move our 30,000 pound boat. And if the motor and gas held out, it could conceivably propel us to a harbor or anchorage. BUT.... not in the face of any sort of current at all. Or wind, for that matter.

And one has to keep in mind the power/speed requirement necessary to maneuver the boat if the waves kick up. We all know how easily waves can shove boats like most of us have around and it takes rudder authority to counter that. A boat like ours moving at a knot or two with a little dinghy motor is going to have almost no rudder authority at all. Probably be okay iif we're crossing a mill pond, not so much out in a bay or the Strait of Georgia in a twenty knot wind.

So I think an outboard could be a practical get-home engine but it would have to be sized for both the boat AND the kind of conditions the boat might get into. And that, as I learned from my friend's experience, can require a much more powerful (and heavy) outboard than one might think.

To our way of thinking, a FAR better get-home solution than a big outboard capable of moving our boat in a maneuverable way in the conditions we are likely to encounter up here, is a second FL120 under the floor. We've needed that engine four times so far, and each of those time an outboard of the size we would tend to have on this boat for a dinghy/shoreboat motor (10-15hp) wouldn't have cut it.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:49 PM   #7
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Crowded Hartley Bay? You must boat in exceptionally isolated waters
The little harbor there was pretty tight - not much space to float around without hitting anyone. And yes we boat in exceptionally isolated waters much of the time.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post
Here's a short article from the Waggoner Cruising Guide website, illustrating why a kicker is a good idea on BC's north coast, or any other isolated coastline. (Interestingly, the final bill for this adventure wasn't shared...I bet it was significantly more than a small outboard).

Broken Down on the North Coast | Waggoner Cruising Guide

Do you have an outboard as an emergency 'get home' option? What have you learned, both positive and negative?

Murray
there was a discussion on another thread about using the correct parts for the job and your incident is an example of a breakdown caused by using the wrong hose. I'm a firm believer in useing the exact and correct part for the job to avoid incidents like yours. However, no matter what we do incidents will happen and its great to know there are those out there willing to give a helping hand.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:09 PM   #9
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In a past life (decades ago)
I'm toying with the idea of the Lehr 9.9 propane outboard. It's supposed to come onto the market pretty soon.
Same here.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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What I'd like to see is an OB mount that keeps the OB vertical and allows it to rise or be lowered a substantial amount at the stern. Willy, w a clear stern would be ideal for this mount but I have no idea where to find one.
Breeze used to make one. Very popular on Catalina 27s around here. It has a motor mount that slides vertically on two parallel SS rods. Next time I'm at the boat I'll snap a picture.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:25 PM   #11
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Same here.
why not an electric outboard?
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:26 PM   #12
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Breeze used to make one. Very popular on Catalina 27s around here. It has a motor mount that slides vertically on two parallel SS rods. Next time I'm at the boat I'll snap a picture.
Isnt what you describe called a jack plate? They are often used with outboards that will be jets part time. There are several manufacturers of them
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:05 PM   #13
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Only 14" of vertical travel and HP/weight somewhat limited.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:13 PM   #14
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Trying to get to an outboard on your aft deck in a rough sea is a great way to fall off and die. Also, the outboard may be sucking air half the time as the boat pitches up and down. This idea would only work in perfect conditions in a flat sea. Either take really good care of your engine(s) or get a proper get home wing engine.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:15 PM   #15
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why not an electric outboard?

As the topic is "get home outboards," a little electric outboard's not going to do squat to move someone's broken-down 30,000 pound-plus cruiser against a current or wind and waves a bunch of miles to a safe haven.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:25 PM   #16
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Only 14" of vertical travel and HP/weight somewhat limited.
there are many companies depending upon the size of your motor and the desired range.
R&R Design, Incorporated#
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:31 PM   #17
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Trying to get to an outboard on your aft deck in a rough sea is a great way to fall off and die. Also, the outboard may be sucking air half the time as the boat pitches up and down. This idea would only work in perfect conditions in a flat sea. Either take really good care of your engine(s) or get a proper get home wing engine.
your right, but in a calm sea it is a good idea to use your dinghy motor for emergency power. in rough weather put out a sea anchor or ground tackle and siter out. failing that call channel 9/16 and pray. I have a merc 9.9 high torq kicker that would surely be able to move a trawler of 40 feet. A defever passagmaker or downeaster had the option for a come home motor that ran off the main shaft. Was electric and supposed to generate 7 hp giving 2-3 knts o9ff the generator. Good idea. Anyone out there own one?
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:34 PM   #18
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Isnt what you describe called a jack plate? They are often used with outboards that will be jets part time. There are several manufacturers of them
Maybe. But the ones I see have 2' of travel, not like the ones in your link.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:42 PM   #19
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Maybe. But the ones I see have 2' of travel, not like the ones in your link.
i got into researching them the year before last when i was having a custom boat built but they all had shortcommings in my book. Seems to me like it would not be dificult to build one with a very long distance of travel out of an electric happijac camper jack and some aluminum channel
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:04 PM   #20
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What I have seen in the past is a mount that slides up and down about 3'. It's basically two tubes. One that attaches to the boat and is fixed and vertical. There are 2 about 18" apart. The other tubes are attached to the OB and are slotted as necessary to slide up and down over the smaller fixed tube.

One would have the OB fixed steering wise and have a typical remote throttle. No gear shift necessary. You'd need a pulley on the front-top of the engine so you can start the engine by pulling UP on the start rope.

I see myself attaching a hose above to the top of the engine so while waves slopped over the engine ther'e would be plenty of air to breath.

I've seen these mounts in the past. Perhaps I should spend some time on e-bay. e-bay isn't what it used to be re boating stuff.
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